JO | 20/01/2018
A sea wife’s life – Bonne Annee et Bon Weekend!
Its the start of 2018, well we are 20 days in but life gets in the way sometimes and I just haven’t had a chance to sit down at my computer and start writing. Christmas and the New Year can be particularly difficult for seafaring families and all those families that have somebody living or working away. This year I was lucky enough to have my sailor home and we had a truly magical Christmas. I don’t feel guilty that we had a wonderful time and I am happy to share it as it will be our turn for him to work soon and having missed many birthdays, anniversaries and other family events and it really special to get Christmas together.
As you know we are in the middle of renovating what turns out to be a mammoth property and project. We are renting a cute but small house, with no cooker so the thought of Christmas day was filling me with dread. We have met amazing friends whilst living here, friends that I feel I have known forever and one friend in particular (we joke that we are twins as we are from the same county in Wales, went to the same university at the same time, both qualified and practised as family solicitors and both have 2 children, but only met in the Dordogne. We are sure we must have served each other as we worked in bars and restaurants 100 metres apart and we remember going to the same dingy, rotten clubs in Liverpool – drunken memories, just not with each other, although we are fast creating new ones, just some 18 years later.) Anyway, enough reminiscing. She moved here with her partner and children and they have a fantastic, renovated farmhouse with hectares of land and woods and as they were going to the UK for Christmas they offered (or maybe I asked?) for us to stay at the their house over Christmas.
We moved in pretty much the day they left. I dropped them at the airport did our christmas food shop and went back to set house up for us. Firstly I must point out that in the UK the Christmas food shop used to be like a cleverly navigated mission. Avoiding the clashing of trolleys, everyone buying everything they could think of as if the world was coming to an end, when in fact the shops would reopen in less than 24 hours. In any event I am pleased to say it was not like that here. It was calm, and quiet and everybody strolled around. I came out with my full shop and not a bad word shared or the immediate need for a drink.
The house was already decorated which was wonderful and once we had hung our own stockings and lit the fire the place felt like home. Having space, a large kitchen I could potter around in, separate rooms for the kids to play or watch tv and all the outdoor space. They built dens, swings, went on secret spy missions. we had a competition of who could spot the most deer in the garden – it was amazing but made me realise how desperate I am to get into our own house. Food, wine, log fire, movies, and family, it was wonderful. By way of a bit of advertising for them as they rent their beautiful house out, here is the link https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p1484479a
After packing up and leaving their home, our van loaded with what felt like all our personal belongings we headed to another friends house to celebrate New Years Eve. More food, wine and amazing company whilst the kids played well into the night. We celebrated the New Year twice. Once on French time and once on English – any excuse for more champagne!
Although officially my sailor was on leave, when you are renovating a house there is no such thing as a holiday. He took Christmas Day and Boxing Day off and worked everyday at the house otherwise. Funnily enough the builders had all clearly stated that they didn’t really take Christmas holidays, They would be back to work the day after Boxing Day – yeah right! I think over the 2 week holidays we saw 1 of the builders for 1 day before he went off snowboarding with his mates and one of the plumbers for a couple of hours one day before he said he was going away for New Year – No Christmas Holidays my arse! Its the same on a Friday. That is the start of their weekend I am sure. They all say “a demain” and I know what they should really be saying when they leave on a Thursday afternoon is Bon Weekend as I will not see them until Monday. 3 day weekend, very nice!
Anyway, despite all of the holidays and the extended weekends we are really happy with the team we have working on the house. The installation of the kitchen started this week, all the upstairs is done now other than radiators and the bathroom is nearly completed. We are aiming to move in when my sailor returns in 5 weeks time. The digger has started digging for the pool (no easy job when you hit huge amounts of rock) the garden looks like a war zone and we have leak that cannot be traced in the conservatory. I have made many stupid comments to friends when things are going to plan about why on earth do people always cry and get mad on “Grand Designs” but I am not ashamed to admit that in the last few weeks I have lost the plot at times. My french, the expletives particularly are now pretty good and its quite funny to see how awkward my tears and ranting make the builders feel, it does make them work a bit faster though, at least until the next holiday or Thursday afternoon.
Bon weekend tout le monde!
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